On Sunday, we ventured out to Santa Monica with my parents to give Lares a go. The host said that the wait was about 20 minutes, but we only ended up waiting about ten minutes. We ate on the second floor next to the back window. We didn't have much of a view since the view was an alley, but it was nice to be near a window on the second floor.
Carnitas - my father enjoyed it. He cleaned his plate. I thought it was a little dry, but okay flavor.
Shrimp al Carbon - shrimp, baja style (grilled with butter and spice). My mother thought it was good, but she would have preferred if they had removed the shells.
Chile Colorado - My dish. I thought it had good flavor, but I prefer Paco's better.
Beef fajitas - Good flavor and nice mix. I liked the addition of potatoes to the mix.
We all had flour tortillas. The tortillas were good, but again I prefer Paco's.
Overall, I believe that Lares does a good job. The menu has a good selection. The service was reasonable, not great, but okay. I liked the atmosphere. I could see it being a local hang-out where you get to know the staff. Since I don't live in the area, I probably will not go back. The main reason for not returning is location and my preference for Paco's (Centinela location --- Westchester one sucks big time).
I'd say if you live near Lares, give it a try. Don't have high expectation but I think you'll enjoy the meal. Price is reasonable as well ($12-$15 entrees for dinner).
Thank you Chowhounds for the recommendation.